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Were the 1975 ‘Still, At Their Very Best’ at Target Center Last Night? 

Just nine months since Minneapolis last saw them, the 1975 return with a little less controversy and a little more sexy saxophone.

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What is even going on here?

'Twas the night before Halloweekend, and all through the Target Center, 
Fans donned in white button-ups awaited wry banter

The curtain was hung from the stage with great care, 
In hopes that Matt Healy soon would be there. 

The seats were filled with teens who cannot yet drive, 
Their parents beside them, keeping an eye. 

Then there were millennials, pounding cans of White Claw, 
Seeming to feel some type of awe. 

When out of a prop door, arose such a sight: 
It’s Matty Healy! And he’s here to advertise for online therapy through BetterHelp! 

Wait, what did he say? 

The crowd went “Huh?” in unison when the 1975 frontman followed the first three songs of the night— “The 1975,” “Looking for Somebody to Love,” and “Happiness”—with a monologue about identity and sincerity that turned out to be… a literal ad for therapy. 

What had happened? Was Healy reformed? Emotionally healed? Was this a bit? The U.K. alternative/indie band are calling this tour “Still, At Their Very Best.” It began 16 days after their “At Their Very Best” tour ended this past August and focuses on Being Funny in a Foreign Language, their fifth and most recent album. TikTok and Instagram are crowded with videos of Healy doing the most obscure and sometimes controversial things while performing. Surely, something would happen at the Minneapolis show, too, right?

Last night, Healy smoked a cigarette while screaming songs into his mic. He drank straight from a bottle of wine. There were also two glasses of what seemed to be whiskey downed and a flask from which he sipped throughout the entire two-hour concert. Some button-pushing photos of the Twin Towers in flames, soldiers in combat, two men kissing, and a woman holding her dead child flashed behind the lyrics to “Love It If We Made It.”

Yet when I left at the end of the night, I found myself asking, “That was it?” My friend had to remind me that Healy had been drinking and smoking all night. What more did I want? Was I expecting him to be more of an asshole? Yes. But can you blame me? 

Once upon a time Healy gnawed off a piece of raw steak on stage. He’s smashed wine bottles quite a few times. Then there was the time he began to say, “I don’t think it’s a racist thing to say—” when the band suddenly (thankfully) cut him off before he could continue. While Healy was smoking and drinking excessively, his arguably arrogant, cocky, insensitive self wasn’t too present inside Target Center.

But saxophonist John Waugh was—and the crowd loved him. Emerging with a funky solo on the third song of the night, “Happiness,” that saxophone demanded everyone’s attention. Nearly every song last night featured Waugh either soloing or otherwise making himself heard, giving the audience something to scream at besides Healy’s remarks. 

Almost straight out of a '90s sitcom, the stage set placed the band in an intimate, homey setting. Healy lounged on the set's leather couches while taking occasional drags of a cigarette, lamps illuminated the stage during the slower songs, and fellow band members entered through the set's "front door." 

The next two songs offered quirky, cutesy moments for the audience to exclaim relatable lyrics like “I like my men like I like my coffee/Full of soy milk and so sweet, it won’t offend anybody” from “Part of the Band” or “Getting cucked, I don’t need it,” from “Oh Caroline.” Staying within the boundaries of their latest album, the ever so joyful song, “I’m in Love With You” offered my personal favorite lyric: “Don’t fuck it, you muppet/It’s not that deep.” As in the music video, Healy bounced around on stage with his guitar, kicking his feet up with no cares in the world. 

A niche callback to Healy’s tabloidy side came with the synth intro to “Change of Heart,” a song rumored to be inspired by his romance with Taylor Swift. Although Healy only dated America’s sweetheart briefly, fans still like to argue about the audacity of Swift going out with a man who makes racist podcast comments and eats raw steak, I guess. 

Other songs from their earlier albums followed, but once the opening notes of “About You” started echoing through the venue, everybody had seemingly dissociated, lost in their own movie moment. The song, popularly associated with autumn and rainy weather, makes everyone the main character in their favorite rom-com. 

Carly Holt, female vocalist and wife to 1975 guitarist Adam Hahn, sings on the bridge, and if hearing Healy sing about how he’s so deeply enamored that he could never forget you isn’t enough to make you swoon, Holt’s feminine solo does the trick. It’s like the moment you’re about to board a plane to a new city after breaking up with your maybe toxic but somehow perfect boyfriend, and all of a sudden he’s running, yelling, and dodging security, all in the hopes of confessing his undying love, begging you to not get on the plane. And for five minutes nearly everyone in the crowd was simultaneously daydreaming about their own airport with their own toxic yet perfect boyfriend.

Then the song ended and the moment was ruined as a naked depiction of Healy himself rose from a grassy platform on the crowd floor. The real Healy then cradled and cuddled the fake, naked version of himself. 

Following some songs from their fifth album, Healy took a smoke break and preached about how he’s always learning from mistakes. Oh, never mind—he was just doing another advertisement, this time for MasterClass, marking the halfway point of the show. 

“The Sound” and “Somebody Else” stole the attention away from Healy and returned it to Waugh. Every few songs he’d pull out a sax solo so intense his forehead veins seemed on the verge of bursting. He was flexing and dancing his fingers up and down the brassy instrument. I think I audibly heard a woman swoon when he licked his lips and made eye contact with the camera. 

Is now a good time to mention that “I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)” was one of the most interactive songs of the night? Should I be concerned that the crowd sang along the loudest to a song about suicidal thoughts? 

The rest of the concert offered an opportunity to get angry with “Love it if We Made It” and its commentary on the failure of modernity. Then there was the 1975’s song about spontaneous sex, “Sex.” What a range of emotion this juxtaposition of hatred for the human race and lust brought out,  accentuated by the encore, “People,” and its message about a corrupt society “fucking with the kids.” 

The two hour-set was a balanced older and newer music, appeasing both lifelong fans and newbies. But did the 1975 prove themselves to be at their very best, still? With Healy’s alcohol consumption on full display as he bopped along on acoustic guitar, Hahn’s electric guitar slides and riffs, and bassist Ross MacDonald’s thumps and drones, the band knows how to play, and play well. If that was their best, it was pretty damn good

But can I mention Waugh’s saxophone one last time? 

Setlist
The 1975 (BFIAFL)
Looking for Somebody (to Love)
Happiness
Part of the Band
Oh Caroline
I'm in Love With You
A Change of Heart
An Encounter
Robbers
Bagsy Not in Net
Pressure
About You
Consumption
Be My Mistake
Campaign VT
TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME
If You're Too Shy (Let Me Know)
It's Not Living (If It's Not With You)
The Sound
Somebody Else
I Always Wanna Die (Sometimes)
Love It If We Made It
Sex
Give Yourself a Try
People

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